Why is June Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
June is recognized as the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus primarily because the solemnity of the Sacred Heart is observed during this month. This year, the solemnity falls on June 16. The specific date varies each year, as it is celebrated on the Friday following the Corpus Christi octave or the Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost.
Nevertheless, there are additional reasons behind the dedication of June to the Sacred Heart.
The origins of this feast can be traced back to 1673, when a French nun belonging to the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (Visitandines) in eastern France began experiencing visions concerning the Sacred Heart.
Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque received apparitions of Jesus, who revealed ways to honor His Sacred Heart and expressed His immense love for humanity. In these visions, Jesus appeared with His heart visibly exposed outside His chest, aflame and encircled by a crown of thorns.
These various devotions include participating in a holy hour on Thursdays and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of every month.
Jesus conveyed to Sister Margaret Mary: “My Sacred Heart is filled with such intense love for humanity, especially for you, that its ardent charity cannot be contained within it. It must be shared through every means possible.”
These visions continued for a period of 18 months.
On June 16, 1675, Jesus instructed Sister Margaret Mary to promote a feast honoring His Sacred Heart. He also imparted to her 12 promises for all those who venerate and promote devotion to the Sacred Heart.
He said: “I request that the Friday following the octave of Corpus Christi be dedicated as a special feast to honor My heart. On that day, through receiving Communion and making a solemn act of reparation, amends should be made for the indignities My heart has endured while exposed on the altars. I promise that My heart will pour out an abundance of its divine love upon those who honor it in this manner.”
Sister Margaret Mary passed away in 1690 and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 13, 1920.
Initially, the Vatican hesitated to establish a feast dedicated to the Sacred Heart. However, as devotion to the Sacred Heart spread throughout France, the Vatican granted permission for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be celebrated in France in 1765.
In 1856, Pope Pius IX designated the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi as the universal feast of the Sacred Heart for the entire Church. Since then, the month of June has been consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His immeasurable love for all of us.
On the current liturgical calendar, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus holds the status of a solemnity, which is the highest-ranking feast. However, it is not considered a holy day of obligation.
These are the promises that the Sacred Heart of Jesus made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
- I will grant them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will establish peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their difficulties.
- They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life, especially at the hour of death.
- I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
- I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
- I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
- I promise you, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last hour.